Tweet Single-vendor networks have been the industry standard for far too long. Gartner gathered information from hundreds of client interactions and performed detailed interviews of nine organizations that introduced a second vendor into their single-vendor network. Gartner found evidence that the introduction of a second vendor into your Cisco or any single-vendor network is far more beneficial than previous thought. Debunking Popular Myths Introducing a new vendor means more expenses; additional staff, initial capital costs, and ongoing maintenance.

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Our findings show that most organizations should consider a dual-vendor or multivendor solution as a viable approach to building their network, as significant cost savings are achievable with no increase in network complexity, while improving the focus on meeting business requirements.

The to deliver a lower five-year TCO for network infrastructure and interviewed organizations ranged in size from roughly 1, users operations, as compared with alternative, dual-vendor approaches. Interviews were conducted with private and public sector organizations. We asked about their past ANALYSIS and current environments, and specifically about changes in costs What You Need to Know and processes in the following areas: staff training, operations and network management, network management tools and The idea of a single-vendor network has been promoted by Cisco maintenance services.

We also looked at the changes that took just like strong vendors in other market areas as a way to simplify place in interoperability, failure rates and network complexity.

However, after interviewing various organizations that When researching this study, and from our hundreds of inquiry have introduced a second vendor into their Cisco infrastructures, calls every year on this topic, Cisco is the predominant incumbent it is clear that in most cases today there is no financial, operational vendor mentioned when looking to pursue an alternative vendor or functional basis for this argument.

The reality is that a single- strategy. However, we do talk with clients that are Research Approach longtime buyers of other networking vendors and we interviewed The foundation of this research is the hundreds of client inquiries one organization that introduced a second vendor into a non-Cisco we receive in the network equipment marketplace from clients environment as a specific part of this research and much though looking at how to manage their existing environments to those not necessarily all of the research and findings in this analysis looking at major project upgrades.

These inquiries represent a apply to network organizations that find themselves with any long- significant portion of the competitive marketplace for network standing and well-entrenched incumbent vendor.

All vendors can infrastructure. All rights reserved. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. The information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information and shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in such information.

The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Although Gartner research may include a discussion of related legal issues, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such.

Gartner is a public company, and its shareholders may include firms and funds that have financial interests in entities covered in Gartner research. Gartner research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from these firms, funds or their managers. Most organizations tend to invest three to five days of incremental training when they transition to another vendor. In nearly all cases, there was no cost The concerns expressed by our clients when they start to consider to the actual training programs, as this was included for free by looking for alternative vendors center around: the various vendors.

We are also seeing more vendors offer online training so that it can be done in the office, incrementally, as required. This research takes the topic further and explores taking advantage of the concept of network building blocks the issue with more-specific quantitative analysis taken from our to define major components within the network for example, hundreds of annual inquiries related to this topic, and our specific edge switching, core switching and WAN routing are often and more-extensive interviews with organizations that have stayed considered building blocks in an enterprise network.

Our interviews focused on organizations that have mixing products of various vendors. Introducing a second introduced HP or Juniper into the environment, as these are the vendor into the network is easier when you do it systematically.

It is challenging to get network management when upgrading hardware or software components to ensure staff members to change their minds and get over their fears when that old prestandard or proprietary protocols are reduced or they believe that Cisco certification is more marketable than other eliminated from use in the network.

One example was interesting, technology into the network. This should be done when since management of the network was part of an outsourced introducing new products from your incumbent vendor, and arrangement. When migrating the LAN infrastructure from Cisco to from any new vendor. HP Networking, the service provider took this completely in stride, and made no comments about a shift in cost or complexity. The Recommendation: Follow the best practices described above to vendor shift was completely covered by the existing contract.

If you rightsize Complexity Myth: Adding another network infrastructure vendor the network, reduce complexity and follow recommended best more than doubles the complexity of the architecture.

This may Equipment and Maintenance Cost Myth: Loyalty to the seem counterintuitive; one would expect going from one vendor incumbent vendor provides an opportunity to negotiate the best to multiple network infrastructure vendors to increase complexity. However, reference customers were able to take advantage of the transition to introduce more standardization in the network This is a major misconception, and we continued to be surprised at architecture.

The network had a more-consistent set of devices the large number of clients we deal with that have little or no idea and was running fewer OS releases, and configurations were more of the magnitude of the premium they are paying their incumbent consistent. This is often a normal outcome of updating the network networking vendor. Depending on the vendors and type of infrastructure, and would have also been the case with an all-new equipment involved, the interviewed organizations achieved capital Cisco or other vendor infrastructure.

This is completely consistent with what we have observed over the However, what was different from the vast majority of Cisco past two to three years in reviewing hundreds of proposals for our installations we encounter was that the effect was longer-lasting.

For example, one organization was running one release of Junos across the entire edge routing infrastructure nearly five years after However, market dynamics change over time as product offerings converting from Cisco to Juniper. On the other hand, another are upgraded, vendors introduce different sales, and channel organization we interviewed in the same vertical market with similar incentive programs and corporate philosophy shifts in response requirements that had remained with Cisco on its WAN running to competitive pressures.

Cisco has responded to these changes the similar Integrated Services Router [ISR] in all remote locations in a number of ways, including deeper discounting for specific recently completed an extensive consolidation project, but only customers and projects, introducing new products that are more managed to reduce the number of Internetwork Operating System price competitive, and making adjustments to maintenance [IOS] versions to four.

This is consistent with the feedback we programs. Even when quotes for capital costs were brought closer to competitive alternatives, Cisco did not address the significant Recommendation: As part of any network update, target reduced variance in ongoing maintenance costs.

Evaluate vendors on how they control software The ranges provided help set the possible savings achievable when releases, and how hardware releases are coupled with software. In some cases, vendors means increasing the number of network staff. However, you can only achieve Our research found that not one organization needed to add these new Cisco price points by a proper competitive evaluation of staff or increase its labor budget to add the new vendor to the alternative vendors.

Without considering alternatives, you will default network. For the purposes of Maintenance Services: The cost of maintenance is highly estimating labor costs when adding a new vendor, we recommend variable among vendors, and the mission-critical nature of the no change to the expected full-time equivalents FTEs required to products involved. From our interviews, it is clear that savings manage and operate the network. The savings we network management tools prior to adopting the second vendor.

However, in many cases, the network operations group These tools use industry-standard, vendor-independent SNMP, had already invested in additional tools to manage the single- so no additional investment was required when introducing vendor network more efficiently. Nearly all the customer references a second network infrastructure vendor. Tools used by the interviewed for this research owned the element management tool references provided features such as discovery and mapping from their network equipment manufacturers NEMs.

Even in single-vendor Cisco environments, we Recommendations: Organizations wanting to take advantage of commonly see additional element management systems tied to the benefits of introducing additional vendors into their environment individual building blocks increasing management complexity.

In should start by introducing industry-standard tools for alerting, all the reference organizations, the element management tool was performance and network performance, and chance management. In some cases, Not only will these tools improve the management of the existing it was also used to push out configuration updates and patches, single-vendor network, but they will also make the transition to although many continue to use manual telnet procedures to make other vendors or adding new technologies much easier.

These configuration changes. When adding a second network infrastructure vendor, organizations considered whether to purchase the vendor-specific element Net Results management system offered by the new vendor, or whether it was time to invest in a network configuration and change management Our research found that the perceptions concerning adding NCCM product that would operate in a multivendor environment, a vendor to a single-vendor network are unfounded.

From enable automated configuration management and provide a the hundreds of client interactions and the detailed interviews compliance audit capability.

Since the second network vendors conducted, we find no need to add staff, retraining is a minor generally sweetened the deal by offering their element management issue, and interoperability and complexity are easily managed, in system free of charge and included training to familiarize the some cases, depending on the exact transition, and will make the staff with the new tools, the references implemented the second network easier to deal with in the long run.

To summarize our findings for this research, management function. Little substantial progress has been made Table 1 represents typical and aggregated results from client so far, and most strategic network management functions are discussions and interviews.

The chart would be representative of an delivered via OEM agreements with Cisco partners. Finally, even if organization replacing a network with to access switches Cisco makes these foundational technology changes, we believe and associated aggregation or core switches.

Depending on specific circumstances and changing vendor be forced to go through a fundamental shift in its approach to approaches, the TCO delta will range higher and lower from these traditional and emerging markets.

What could make the assumption not come true: Cisco may Strategic Planning Assumption: Through , Cisco will be recognize that it is more important to preserve market share unable to make sufficient changes to deliver a lower five-year against major competitors like HP, IBM and Juniper than preserving TCO for network infrastructure and operations, as compared with its current margin structure.

This would allow customers to alternative dual-vendor approaches. Cisco Why we believe the assumption will be true: For Cisco to make could also plug its gaps in operational tools through acquisition. Most critical, it needs to make operational organization could lead to better integration and consistent efficiency and integration across diverse portfolios a primary design management interfaces among various product lines.

However, criteria. It also needs to make large investments in management even if this is declared a priority by Cisco internally, we believe it tools, or to acquire a portfolio of management tools. Cisco has would take a minimum of two to three years to make noticeable been working on these issues for more than five years, with progress. Table 1.


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